What’s one of the biggest differences between a good cook and a great cook? They love herbs and they know how to use them. But let’s face it — getting those herbs just right can be intimidating. Not only do you have different varieties of herbs to choose from, but you also need to decide if you want fresh or dried. To get you started on your herbaceous education, here are seven of our favorite tips to master now.
1. Know when to use fresh vs. dried herbs.
When it comes to using herbs — fresh or dried— it’s all about timing. When you’re adding them to the dish is the biggest factor involved in deciding between the two. Dried herbs are best added while a dish is cooking, whereas fresh herbs are best added at the end. Of course, sometimes you have to substitute, which means you’ll need to use approximately 1 1/2 times the amount of fresh herbs as you would dried.
2. Learn the 3 keys to an indoor herb garden.
Water, light, and temperature — pay attention to these three factors, and your kitchen herb garden is sure to flourish. Ideally most herbs want at least six hours of sunlight per day. They should also be kept warm (from 65°F to 75°F), and if the air in your home gets dry, make sure to mist them to occasionally in addition to watering them.
3. Master the chiffonade.
You’ve seen those skinny strips of basil show up on restaurant salads and soups, but do you know how to make them at home? It’s easier than you might expect. Simply roll a few leaves up into a cylinder and slice them across the roll to create ribbons.